Diversity, the big winner at Oscars
LOS ANGELES, USA (AP) — Diversity was perhaps the biggest winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
For the first time, a film directed by a black filmmaker — Steve McQueen of 12 Years a Slave — won best picture and a Latino — Alfonso Cuaron of Gravity — took home best director in a ceremony presided over by a lesbian host and overseen by the academy's first black president. And only two of the top six awards went to Americans.
McQueen's grimly historical drama 12 Years a Slave took best picture, leading the usually sedate filmmaker to jump up and down in celebration after his acceptance speech.
The British director dedicated his award to "all of the people who endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today".
Cuaron's lost-in-space thriller Gravity led the Oscars with seven awards, including cinematography, editing, score, visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing. Some in his native Mexico have been critical that since the attention came for a Hollywood release and not a Mexican-themed film, his win didn't have the same kind of importance.
"I'm Mexican so I hope some Mexicans were rooting for me," he told reporters backstage.
The entire Oscar ceremony had the feel of a makeover for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – an institution that has sometimes seemed stuck in the past. After a Los Angeles Times report revealed the academy was overwhelmingly older white men, new president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has pushed for a more varied membership.
The movie industry that the Oscars reflect has also been reluctant to tell a wider range of stories.